Retiring to foreign shores can be an appealing adventure for some. In the right place, you can even retire with a richer lifestyle than you’d be able to find in the United States. Between lower costs of living, high-quality health care, and exotic locations, retirees are increasingly spending their golden years away from home.
Time offers a case study of just how appealing living abroad can be: Two empty-nesters worked full-time to live in an expensive California home. Their monthly expenses were around $6,000. The two moved to Ambergris Caye, a small island off the coast of Belize. Now they are retired and living in a two-bedroom condo with what they call a “million-dollar Caribbean view.” They’ve traded in their cars for bicycles and a golf cart, and their rent is just $1,100 per month. If this sort of retirement sounds appealing to you, here are a couple of things to consider.
Social Security Benefits & Banking
Yes, retiring expats can still typically receive Social Security benefits. The latest data shows that the Social Security Administration sends benefits to over 346,000 retirees living outside the US. With today’s technology, the Administration can directly deposit into a foreign bank account. However, Time recommends keeping most of your cash in the United States. It’s simply safer to keep your money in a federally insured bank and is more convenient for your visits back to the US. A resource you may want to consult is the advocacy group American Citizens Abroad.
Full-Time or Part-Time?
Most experts seem to recommend taking your adventure slow to start. You don’t want to fully commit to something that turns out not to be right for you. You may consider renting abroad for the first year, or even just part of the year. This will help you get a feel for your new community and get a realistic estimate of your cost of living before you make a long-term commitment.
Where Do You Want to Go?
The most fun part of considering a retirement abroad is researching where to go. While Central and South America have long been popular choices for retirees, economic development around the world has led to more possible destinations than ever.